Briton beats jersey Sebastian Vettel into second after German

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Briton beats jersey Sebastian Vettel into second after German
Spectators at Austin were treated to the spectacle of the planet’s fastest men on two feet and four wheels performing the “Lightning Bolt” celebration on the podium but Lewis Hamilton was not able to toast a fourth world title in addition to his usual first-place finish at the United States Grand Prix.

Not quite, anyway, but this was merely destiny deferred under blue Texas skies. Confirmation is likely to come this weekend in Mexico City thanks to a conquering drive here that extended Hamilton’s lead in the standings to 66 points over Sebastian Vettel with the season almost over.

Hamilton preached caution. “There’s still three races to go, so for me in my mind we’ve still got three races to win, still a lot of points available,” he said. But, Womens Shawn Williams Jersey realistically, to prolong his challenge by clawing back some of the deficit, Vettel must hope for victory in Mexico combined with a technical failure that leaves Hamilton far off the pace.
It looks a remote possibility: Hamilton won Womens Shawn Williams Jersey in Mexico last year and has finished first in six of the past eight races. His triumph here came after a contest that provided some unexpected drama before normal service resumed and the Mercedes driver took control of the second half, sealing a fourth successive constructors’ title for his team in the process.
Hamilton has won five of the six Grand Prix staged at this track and was quickest throughout the practice and qualifying sessions. The race ended as it began on the grid, with the Briton and the German first and second, yet Vettel’s Ferrari grabbed Womens Shawn Williams Jersey the lead at the start before Hamilton reclaimed the advantage on lap six of 56.
“One of the most fun races I’ve had for a while,” Hamilton said. “Didn’t get away to a great start, not really sure why but Sebastian got off to a great start. I was kind of chilled about it because I’ve known in the past that you can overtake here.
“It was great having a battle, it was very reminiscent of 2012 here, seeing Sebastian up ahead and wanting to have a real battle. I was a bit surprised Sebastian didn’t defend more.”
The 32-year-old controlled the race comfortably after that early intrigue, save for a decision to make the first tyre change three laps after Vettel. “Why did you let him get so close?” Hamilton asked his team over the radio as he emerged from the pits with his rival on his tail.
Vettel would not threaten again, though he ended up second by going past the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas on lap 51 – then, inevitably, his team-mate, Kimi Raikkonen, soon afterwards.
Hamilton’s qualifying performance gave him his 117th front-row start, surpassing Michael Schumacher’s Womens Shawn Williams Jersey previous Formula One record. Schumacher bought a ranch in Texas in 2012, the year that Austin staged its first Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas.
Hamilton has always seemed comfortable in Texas both at the wheel and away from his car. A fan of American culture and lifestyle as well as the circuit – “I think this track is now my favourite track, to be honest,” he told the crowd afterwards – even a yell of “yee-haw!” as he exited his vehicle on Saturday after confirming pole was fairly convincing.
On Sunday, two hours before the race got under way, Hamilton took Bolt for a spin in a Mercedes road car; the Olympic 100 metres champion interviewed him on the podium after the race. Before the start the drivers were introduced by a boxing announcer as they emerged from a tunnel along a red carpet lined by cheerleaders in cowboy boots shaking pom-poms.


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